In a recent article on CNET, Andrew Lloyd Weber of “Cats” fame, forwarded the notion of churches having Wi-Fi as a means of attracting people back to the House of God. At first this seemed to be a bit extreme as a method of getting folks to attend church services. The article (found at http://www.cnet.com/news/churches-should-all-have-wi-fi-says-theater-impresario) further cites that one in five Americans use their cell phones, iPads/Tablets, or other form of electronic communication device during church services. Hmm… This notion assumes that if an “establishment” provides something attractive (in this case free Wi-Fi access), it will bring “consumers” in. The idea behind churches having such a service was not so much for “use,” but rather as a means to bring people into the building to create “community.” Weber stated that once the bodies were in the church, then the work of influencing attendees spiritually would be up to the preacher. The article continues to note that many churches are unable to draw members because there is a lack of community spirit, again due to lack of membership. The popular phrase from an 80’s movie comes to mind when I first read this article… “If you build it, they will come,” or in this case, if you offer it, they will attend. Churches were originally set up as a means for people who believed in the same God to collectively worship and express their faith together. For some, this was expressed in communal prayer, while others focused on the solemnness and sacredness of silence within a church in order for their mind, heart, and spirit to reach a place of oneness with their deity. My book series, The Last Prophet, talks about the journey of one woman, called the prophetess in the series, who finds that peace and solitude through her relationship with God. Her relationship with God was rekindled not by the attraction of free Wi-Fi from her local Catholic Church, but rather in the personal connection she made with a very real person. As a counselor/advisor to many young people in the education field, I know that our youth today are vastly dependent on technology to keep them “entertained” and engaged in almost anything. Those of us who grew up in a different era when “face time” was preferred to Facebook, the notion of adding technology of this nature would present issues in the long run when instituted in a place of worship where the connection is automatically “wireless” (you don’t need internet access to connect with God the last time I checked). I could be wrong, but then again, perhaps Mr. Weber has an idea that might work for the youth of today.
What do you think? Would access to free Wi-Fi in church (and I do mean during worship services) benefit the said church’s community somehow? I would like to know. Place your comments below.
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